July 17, 2001
Mr. Chairman and members of the Board, my report this evening highlights several recent activities occurring in the division this summer and some honors recently earned by students and staff.
During the last week of June a delegation of Ocean Lakes High School students and VBCPS advisors attended the National Association of Student Councils conference in Charlotte, NC. Their participation in the conference included a presentation for advisors and students from across the nation on our plans for next year's conference to be held at Ocean Lakes High. Our preparations are well underway, and in just 11 short months Virginia Beach will be the destination for 1,500 high school students and 500 of their advisors - bringing "Oceans of Leaders and Waves of Success" to our city and our school division!
As you know, twenty-eight of our schools have their doors open for summer school. To date, there are 4,957 elementary students enrolled in summer sessions and 5,986 secondary students for a total of 10, 943. By way of comparison, last year 3,929 elementary students were enrolled in summer sessions and 4,776 secondary students for a total of 8,705. Forty-three different courses are being offered to students at the secondary level, providing opportunities for remediation and extended learning.
Over the past several months the Department of Information Technology and the Department of Media and Communications Development have been working together to fine-tune changes to improve the school division's website. In August, we plan to unveil our new site - www.vbschools.com - for the 2001-2002 school year. Many of the new changes will occur as a result of an online survey conducted in May and from information gathered during focus groups held the first week in June.
To help increase awareness of our website's new name, all 238 school vehicles will display a decal of the new logo on the rear of the car, truck or van. Administrative Support Services will help us accomplish this task.
We are excited about the new changes. As a point of information, we have had slightly more than 6 million hits to our site since January. Our website averages about 1 million hits a month.
Several Congratulations are in order this evening. . .
The Virginia Beach Fire Department recently announced that Amanda L., a student in Ms. Dana Maurice's class at Windsor Woods, won the citywide fire safety poster contest. The contest was open to all fourth grade students in the city. Congratulations to Amanda!
Several of our high schools have received the Wachovia Sportsmanship, Ethics, and Integrity Award for the 2000-2001 school year. They include Tallwood High, the only school in the state to have won the award every year since its inception; Ocean Lakes High, a recipient for the sixth time; Cox High School, who wins the award for the fifth time; Kempsville High who receives the award for the second time; and Salem High, who wins the award for the first time. Congratulations to the athletes at these schools for demonstrating outstanding sportsmanship!
Congratulations to Heather S., a seventh grade student at Salem Middle School, who won first place in the Environmental category for the Junior Division of the Tidewater Science Fair.
Each year about 420 students from 12 middle schools and high schools in our region participate in the Tidewater Science Fair, affiliated with the International Science and Engineering Fair. Heather also received Honorable Mention in Excellence for a Water Related Project and the overall grand prize for the Junior Division.
On a final note, I'd like to report briefly on the process for recent out of zone requests. As you may recall, the Board approved the secondary redistricting plan last spring and also initiated a revised policy for out of zone requests. The new policy specifies that no out of zone request be approved if the requested school exceeds its building utilization capacity by 10 percent. Seven of our eleven high schools currently exceed the 10 percent mark. As a result, we identified students at the secondary level whose addresses were considered to be out of zone in total, 812 of them. An application for an out of zone request was then forwarded to those students along with information about the newly revised School Board policy. Under the new regulation, until December 31st, all requests must be approved by school administration rather than by the building level administration as previously required.
Each out of zone request was reviewed individually and Dr. Stowers has taken action based on the current board criteria. To date there have been 297 transfers granted, 228 transfer requests rejected and there are 287 cases pending. A letter was sent to parents informing them of the out of zone decision. Students who have established sports eligibility at their out of zone schools have been granted sports eligibility at their zoned schools, relative to the new transfer rule. Of course, students must meet other sports eligibility requirements as well.
Mr. Chairman, this concludes my report for this evening.